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Every April, visitors to Old Havana’s historical centre will find squares, parks, streets, museums and old houses possessed by a dancing spirit. And it was this spirit invoked by dancer and choreographer Isabel Bustos and her company Retazos, which turns balconies, windows, stairs and walls into stages for the International Dance Festival.
This absolutely unique dance festival began in 1996 in two or three house-museums in the Historical Center of Havana. In the words of Isabel Bustos, it started with “five or six people who ran from house to house, from balcony to balcony, from courtyard to courtyard, from garden to garden, two dancers here, two there.” Since then, it has gradually taken over almost all of the institutions run by the Office of the Historian as well as the main squares and streets in all the ancient parts of the city.
The premise behind the International Dance Festival is to draw inspiration from the city’s architecture, to awaken the imagination, to promote new creative environments and to encourage the exchange of ideas and artistic experiences between the people of different languages and cultures. The invitation goes out from the Retazos Company which is directed by Isabel Bustos. Hundreds of Cubans and foreign visitors attend, fascinated by this opportunity to translate into movement the sensations and emotions that are awakened by the beauty of the splendid Havana architecture.
For this year’s festival expect Old Havana’s plazas and streets to be filled with over 1,500 participants that include dancers, choreographers, musicians and painters from all over the world. Part of the International City Dance Network established in Barcelona this is a real cultural highlight in the beating heart of Old Havana, which should not be missed.
2014: Details of Event
Hundreds of dancers, artists and choreographers from Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Spain, France, Mexico and Venezuela will take part in the event.
Meetings, exhibitions, lectures, video-dance showings and passacaglias will take place during the mornings, while master classes, passacaglias and workshops will be held in the afternoons. The evenings have been reserved for shows.
The principal stages will be Plaza de Armas, Plaza de San Francisco de Asís, Plaza Vieja; Rumiñahui, Simón Bolívar and Las Carolinas Parks; Galería Oswaldo Guayasamín, Casa Benito Juárez, Casa Simón Bolívar, Casa de la Poesía, Factoría Habana, Vitrina de Valonia, Las Carolinas Theater and the streets of Mercaderes, Oficios, Amargura and Obrapía.
Opening & Closing Ceremony (April 9 & 13) April 9, 4pm at Teatro Las Carolinas. Gigantería Stilt Walking Company (Havana) / Passacaglias for the opening of exhibitions Transparencias (Isabel Bustos and José Eduardo Yanes, Pantalla TV Movimiento y Ciudad). April 9, 9pm at Plaza de Armas. Opening of the 19th International Dance Festival in Urban Landscapes. Old Havana: City in Motion with the premiere of Retornos: Gente y ciudad, choreography by Isabel Bustos with the performance of Gente y ciudad, a premiere by the Retazos Dance Company. April 13, 9pm Closing Ceremony at Plaza de Armas,
Daily Program (April 10-12) 11am to 1.30pm: Shows for kids at various venues (Sat and Sun ONLY) 3pm starting at Plaza de Armas. Gigantería Stilt Walking Company (Havana) and TECMA (Pinar del Río) / Passacaglia presenting guest companies on streets, parks and plazas 6pm at Casa Benito Juárez, Casa Simón Bolívar, Casa de la Poesía, Factoría Habana, Vitrina de Valonia; 7pm at Casa Guayasamín; 8pm at Casa de África; 9pm at Las Carolinas Theater
Video-Dance Festival (April 7-12) Plaza de Armas April 9, 8.30pm, Showing of Cosecha, Prizewinner of Technologias que danzan, 2013
Espacio DV DANZA a La Cancha (Calle Amargura e/ Mercaderes y San Ignacio) April 10, 8.30pm, Works performed in the Festival Breaking 8, Italia April 11, 8.30pm, Works performed by British choreographer and filmmaker Billy Cowie April 12, 8.30pm, Screening of selected international works April 13, 8.30pm, Screening of selected national works
Amargura No. 61 e/ San Ignacio y Mercaderes, Habana Vieja, La Habana,
Tel. +(53) 7 860 4341
www.danzateatroretazos.cu April 2014 This article formed part of the April 2014 issue of What’s On Havana The definitive monthly travel & culture guide to Havana Download our current issue of What’s On Havana, your definitive travel, culture and entertainment guide for all things happening in Havana, Cuba’s bustling and enigmatic capital city. We include features from around Cuba written by the best international travel writers covering Cuba. Our monthly online digital magazine is also available in Spanish and French.
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